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2005: 'The year of online media'

The idea of getting today's news today finally made sense to almost everybody...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

The idea of getting today's news today finally made sense to almost everybody...

The past year has seen a major increase in the number of people turning to the internet for news, with events such as the terror attacks in London, Hurricane Katrina in the US and the death of the Pope driving traffic to news sites.

In all three cases the way the stories changed on an almost hourly basis meant the internet became the first place many people looked for news of further developments on everything from travel disruptions and missing persons to whether the next Pope had yet been named.

Google's annual Zeitgeist report has revealed that those three events sparked massive peaks in traffic to online news services such as the BBC and CNN.

On the day of the London bombings searches for 'London' also spiked sharply to levels way in excess of normal.

Figures released earlier this year by Pew Internet found that 30 per cent of US web users now get news online every day. Steady growth in that figure, and a similar situation playing out worldwide has corresponded with falling fortunes for traditional media.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation last month revealed overall newspaper circulation has hit its lowest point since 1991.

The Google Zeitgeist also revealed which search terms have proven most popular over the past year. Despite the events named above, 'Janet Jackson' was actually the most popular search terms on Google News.

Apple, meanwhile, dominated Google's shopping resource Froogle. 'iPod' was the top search term while iPod mini (4th), iPod shuffle (8th) and iPod nano (10th) also made the list.

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